|Robert Downy Jnr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3.|
It is almost laughable now how brand product placement is something we come to expect as part of our movie experience. Not since Minority Report have I been blown away how cinema can exploit the captive audience of the cinema.
Do you know what this little icon means?
|The 'PP' icon used in the UK for programmes |
containing product placement.
This form of advertising is popular due to its ability to show products in context, for example how people interact with products, and how a product interacts with its environment. This facilitates an emotional connection between the product and the audience. Product placement on commercial television has been common practice in the US for a lot longer than in the UK.
However, long before television entered our homes, product placement was already taking place in the cinema, with the earliest instances taking place around 1895! More recent, and much more well-known, instances of product placement include a Capital One credit card in 127 Hours, Domino's Pizzas in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Nike trainers in The Terminator, and Heineken lager in Skyfall.
Is product placement effective?
|One of the sarcastically obvious product placements in|
Studies have also shown that a number of factors can affect the success of a product placement, including the attractiveness of the characters, and the degree of subtlety used when placing the product. The 1992 film 'Wayne's World' did a great job of highlighting how to do product placement badly in their parody. In the scene both Wayne and Garth decry product placement while at the same time blatantly promoting many products by looking directly at the camera, holding up the product, smiling widely, and sometimes giving a thumbs-up.
And as for Iron Man 3...
The main product that I was drawn towards through the excitement, action, thrill and MARVEL madness was the Audi R8. This is more than likely why I really like the super car and Audi as a brand but one thing I did not notice was the fact that Audi appear to have category exclusivity in the film. It has been pointed out that one of the cars in the film is a Mustang, however does not carry the Mustang logo.
|Audi take centre stage in the Iron Man movies.|
I was also intrigued by some of the sunglasses Tony Stark was wearing. Several eyewear brands were represented throughout the film but the one that caught my eye was the luxury brand Matsuda, who have a very cool website! You can also check them out on Twitter.
And of course MARVEL did not forget to advertise the Avengers franchise with their trademark bonus clip after the credits!
However, it has been questioned whether product placement was taken too far in Iron Man 3, especially in the chinese version. Chinese audiences we treated to an extra 4 minutes of footage, but from the reviews it seems that most of this footage was used to promote a cheap chinese milk brand!
What about the future?
Product placement occurs everywhere; in our streets, on our screens, in our books, everywhere. Are we as creatives going to be asked to persue further avenues to promote and advertise a brand's products and services? Red Bull have already gone to the heady heights of space to push the boundaries, we're pretty sure that if practicality hadn't have gotten in the way Felix would have been enjoying a can just before he jumped to earth...
|Notice how his suit is Red Bull branded.|
Sources of Information: